A research initiative to develop new treatments to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – known as “silent killers” – will receive an injection of up to £39 million ($48.5 million) in cash from the UK government’s Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF).
But, according to the director of Global Health Policy and Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development, that’s not enough.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – in which bacteria have evolved in such a way that current antibiotics and other treatments are no longer effective against infections – is a silent killer that costs millions of lives worldwide each year, with one in five of these deaths occurring in children under the age of five.
About the AMR research funding package
Out of this new funding package, up to £24 million ($29.9 million) over four years has been provided to support the UK’s partnership with CARB-X – a global AMR research initiative – to support the ongoing early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and other products to fight drug-resistant infections.
The UK has committed £20 million ($24.9 million) of its ring-fenced Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget to the initiative which, along with other funders, has resulted in CARB-X in turn investing almost £40 million ($49.7 million). into the UK science and innovation industry.
In addition to the CARB-X grant, GAMRIF invested £5 million ($6.2 million) over two years into the Global Antibiotics R&D Partnership (GARDP) to develop – and ensure global access to – new antibiotic treatments a top global health priority.
UK at ‘center of global health agenda’
Health Minister Will Quince said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to global health and causes millions of tragic deaths a year, but the AMR Global Innovation Fund supports cutting-edge research and developing important new treatments to prevent death and disease worldwide. World.
“This funding will provide a much-needed boost to protect people from diseases such as drug-resistant gonorrhea, life-threatening sepsis in newborns, and serious bacterial infections.
“The UK is putting ourselves at the center of the global health agenda and it is truly wonderful to be in Geneva at the World Health Assembly to strengthen our commitment to improving health globally and building resilience to future health threats through our new Global Health Framework.”
However, Javier Guzman, director of Global Health Policy and Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development, said the amounts promised would not be enough to make a difference.
“The UK’s new Global Health Framework is a step in the right direction – but the amount promised to strengthen global health security including antimicrobial resistance, pandemic preparedness and health systems, is barely enough to address the scale of this complex problem,” Guzman said.
“The funding is also paltry when compared to specific vertical disease programs (e.g. malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis), such as those implemented by The Global Fund and Gavi, which receive less than $1 billion from the UK in 2021.”
The main objectives of this framework are to: strengthen global health security, reform the global health architecture, strengthen country health systems and address key risk factors for ill health, and advance the UK’s leadership in science and technology.
Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell said: “The UK is committed to creating a robust and globally inclusive health system that helps end preventable maternal, infant and child deaths and is resilient to global health threats.
“Through investment, innovation and engagement with key partners, we can develop a healthier, safer and more prosperous world for everyone.”
A four-year grant of up to £10 million ($12.4 million) has also been signed with the Canadian Center for International Development Research (IDRC). The GAMRIF-IDRC partnership, known as InnoVet-AMR, will identify solutions to mitigate the emerging risks to global health and food security posed by AMR in animals.
The latest announcement comes after the UK’s Health Security Agency unveiled a 10 year science strategy. The plan sets out how science can save more lives and contribute to Britain’s ambition to become a global science superpower.